For release on June 27, 2013
Judy Lee, Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
SAN JOSE SCHOOL DAD CHARGED WITH STEALING THOUSANDS FROM PTA
A San Jose parent has been charged with siphoning more than $27,000 out of an elementary school’s PTA fund.
A volunteer financial secretary at Lynhaven Elementary School Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Keith Michael Dennis, 44, is accused of illegally using school PTA funds by forging checks to reimburse himself for fictional expenses due for fundraisers and field trips. The money Dennis is accused of stealing was intended to help fund Lynhaven student activities, among other things.
Dennis is charged with grand theft, embezzlement and two counts of forgery, all felonies. If convicted, he could face incarceration. The defendant, who has since resigned from the PTA post, self surrendered yesterday.
“Mr. Dennis is alleged to have abused the trust of the Lynhaven PTA and pocketed money intended to benefit its young students,” prosecutor Judy Lee said. “Non-profits – such as PTAs - should exercise careful oversight over their money.”
The PTA has since improved the oversight of managing its funds.
The D.A. investigation began late last year when a school auditor forwarded to police a report detailing thousands in missing money and its suspicions of Dennis’ thefts. Dennis, a parent of Lynhaven students, had been employed by the school as a substitute teacher in the past and was a volunteer at the school. He served on the PTA as the Financial Secretary from 2009 to 2012.
District Attorney Investigator Nick Olson found that a series of checks, some of which appeared to have been forged with the PTA president’s name, had been written by Dennis to himself - and then cashed. The checks “reimbursed” Dennis for such expenses as a printer, cookie dough fundraiser, and school logo clothing. Dennis was due no reimbursement for these expenses.
At another time, Dennis was supposed to have deposited hundreds in cash to the PTA’s bank account. The resulting deposit was only $16.